How Ancient Greek candles were made and used

How Ancient Greek candles were made and used

Welcome to the Topic “How Ancient Greek candles were made and used”

As we know them today, candles were not the same in prehistoric or ancient times, we cannot determine precisely when the first candle was made, but some of the first candles we know today are from ancient Egypt.

The first candles

Since the first records, we have seen that fat has always been a critical component in candle making, but can we call a candle without a wick a candle? Henceforth ancient torches made from reed filled with fat cannot be considered a candle. Romans are considered the first to make wick candles. They also used fat collected from cattle and sheep to make these candles, but it had a disadvantage as animal fat gave off an unpleasant odor. Furthermore, the low melting point of the fat resulted in candles that were not long-lasting and melted under hot weather conditions.

Beeswax to make candles

During the middle ages, beeswax was introduced as a substitute for animal fat in candle making. Beeswax is collected from beehives as the material used to build the hives by the bees. Beeswax is still used to this date in candle making due to its odorless nature, no smoke, and a higher melting point than animal fat.

Candles in the Ancient Greek

Many cultures have used candles for diverse celebrations and customs, from lighting candles in a church to lighting candles for satanic rituals. In ancient Greek traditions, candles have been used for centuries in spring festivals. Candles in the form of human figures, wreaths, and flowers have been used for spring festivals to celebrate the birth of Greek goddesses. On the sixth of every lunar month, the ancient Greeks lit candles made of beeswax to commemorate the birth of Artemis. 

Another significant example can be seen in the fourth century when wax models were used by the famous sculptor Lysistratos Sikynosis. It is also believed that the global tradition of blowing out candles on birthday cakes has been derived from the ancient customs of making moon-shaped cakes and decorating them with candles for the goddess Artemis, the goddess of the moon. These cakes were made circular and then lit with candles for them to shine like the moon. 

It is also said that cakes lit with candles were transferred to the temple of Artemis, and after blowing out the candles and making a wish, it was believed that the smoke carried the prayers to heaven. Furthermore, the same tradition of putting candles on sweets/cakes was used in ancient Greek culture to glorify the goddess of the stars and moon, which was also associated with the goddess of hunting. 

Candles have been used by the human race for centuries now, and we can see how the use of candles has evolved, from using candles to glorify goddesses to blowing out candles on our birthday cakes; we can relate to ancient greek cultures and how in today's western world remain reminiscent of an ancient greek world.

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